I think I can finally write this without tears streaming down my face…ok, without a lot of tears streaming down my face.
Two weeks ago we unexpectedly had to say good bye to Bear. Honestly it had been coming and we knew that, but no one was willing to make the decision so he made it for us. He had what we think was a stroke and the vet told us it was probably one of more to come and that he wouldn’t make it through the night.
It was so sudden and unexpected – Peter and I couldn’t look at each other without crying. Bear started out as my mom, sister and my dog 13 years ago. When PW and I got married and moved to DC, both Bear and Travis came with us and that was 7 years ago so Bear was as much his as mine. And in a lot of respects, he was Peter’s because Bear chose Peter – litereally. He should have been named Judus because as soon as we were marrried, it was like all the love, feeding and caring for him that I had done didn’t mater, now he had a man to hang out with.
After several long cries, the gallows humor started. Growing up in my house my mom taught us that it’s good to cry, but sometimes you need to laugh instead of cry because there just aren’t any tears left. Peter and I laughed through tears saying that Bear was probably in purgatory watching films of all the terrible things he had done throughout his life; stealing tissues out of the trash and shreading them, peeing on the rug repeatedly despite the open dog door, tearing into bags of trash and slinking away just as his brother Travis discovered the treasure and thus making it look like he did it, wagging his tail on approach to another dog and then trying to bite their ear off, stealing baby toys, willing Baylor to drop him food, snarling through baths, learning how to open the gate to our back yard and taking himself for a walk…the list goes on. We always said he was such a smart dog, he just chose to use his brain for evil rather than good.
But despite his flaws, he was a faithful friend who was always quick with an ear kiss, a crazy welcome, a paw to shake (but only if you had a treat) a black nose to kiss and big brown eyes that let you know that there was a lot more going on in his furry head than he was willing to let you know.
Sweet Baylor crushed me that night by asking me through sobs where Bear’s bed in heaven was. She was incredibly upset about where he would sleep since his bed was still in our room. I let her know that he had a big, fluffy bed next to Travis and Mamie. She asked if his room was close to Jesus’s and when I said yes, she calmed down and drifted off to sleep.
I still catch myself saying good bye when we leave, throwing an ice cube on the floor for him, and calling for him when I drop a carrot on the floor. I miss him when the house is quiet and he would sit in the office with me and work. I miss the clip of his nails on the tile and the jingle of his collar. How he shnuffled and stretched each morning and “combed” his hair by rubbing his face repeatedly on the bed skirt.
B and Bear didn’t agree on much – except treats, tents and tea parties
Always the perfect tea party guest
Cotton-y fur and snow never mixed…
Add “drinking from the ice bucket” to the list of things he’s watching in purgatory